If Salt Lake City wins its bid for the 1998 Winter Games, Davis County residents may find most visitors, athletes and the associated economic benefits driving by on I-15.
But Bountiful officials are hoping to change that by suggesting that their city, not Ogden, ought to be the site for a speed-skating venue and that the city's ice rink could be enlarged to hold some Olympic figure skating and ice hockey events.Tom Hardy, Bountiful city manager, said he has made the suggestion to Tom Welch of the the Salt Lake Winter Games Organizing Committee. The committee has tentatively named Ogden as a site for the speed-skating venue, but Hardy said the committee ought to consider Bountiful, noting its past record of hosting figure skating events at its 1,500-seat rink built in 1974.
"We would obviously have to have an upgrade or an expansion of our facility in conjunction with the Olympics," Hardy said.
Hardy said the city's ice rink has been the site for preliminary competitions in the 1984 U.S. National Figure Skating Championship and will be used when the championships return to Salt Lake City next year. It is also home to the Utah Figure Skating Club, whose members include Olympic hopeful Holly Cook.
Hardy said the proximity of Bountiful to the Olympic village, proposed for Fort Douglas, would be an advantage over an Ogden speed-skating site.
"We could host preliminary hockey competition or have the venue for speed skating," Hardy said. "I told Tom Welch that Bountiful would be interested is being the site for one or more of the facilities. Of course, it is real preliminary at this point."
Thus far, discussions of Olympic venues have left out almost any mention of Davis County. Davis County officials have also not been included in Olympic organizing discussions and county commissioners have also refused to give any money to the organizing committee.
Jill Remington, of the committee staff, said the Bountiful rink has only been talked about as a practice rink. Along with the speed-skating venue in Ogden, the Huntsman Center has been tentatively selected as a site for ice hockey.
Remington said one of the reasons that Ogden had been given a tentative stamp of approval was because of interest in speed skating developing in the city and a commitment that local government would help build the rink.
"Ogden city and Weber County said they would be willing to provide bonding for facilities and there seems to be an interest in speed skating in Ogden area. We want to take it to a community were it would be nurtured. That doesn't mean Davis County couldn't do the same thing," Remington said.
John Miller, Bountiful ice rink manager, sees a lot of interest in skating in Bountiful. He said that his rink would be ideal. He said there is a lot of community support generated by the local skating club and it has had experience at hosting skating competitions.
"I know that the people in the skating community would love to see it here," he said.
Bountiful City Councilman Keith Barton said he would be willing to look at some sort of bonding proposal for expansion of the city's ice rink if the economic benefits could help offset the costs.